Philadelphia Eagles fans wake up feeling blissful … but can the good times keep on rolling?

Shutdown Corner
Philadelphia Eagles fans wake up feeling blissful … but can the good times keep on rolling?
Philadelphia Eagles fans wake up feeling blissful … but can the good times keep on rolling?

Good morning, Philadelphia Eagles fans. How do you feel?

Normally, such a question could elicit rage in response from, let's face it, a sometimes ornery bunch.

Not today.

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Monday night's blitzkrieg of the Redskins — certainly the first 40 minutes, anyway — has to plaster smiles on Eagles fans' faces after what was a fairly stunning debut from the fighting Chip Kellys in a 33-27 victory, ruining the return of Robert Griffin III to the field.

It was all there. The pace. The production. The hang-on-for-the-ride excitement. And also, just the fun of it all. It was on pretty much from the first minute of action, when the Eagles ran four offensive plays. Think about that for a second.

Those placards Kelly held up at Oregon to signal in plays and formations from the sidelines at Oregon? Well, Kelly hasn't taken long to figure out that he should adjust the pictures with his arrival to Philadelphia.

Rocky and the Philly Phanatic? Sheer brilliance. Up next: the Liberty Bell and a big, fat cheesesteak, oozing with the yellow stuff. Maybe a picture of Greg Luzinski, or Teddy Pendergrass perhaps? For all we know, those signs could be dummies, but it's damned colorful, and they are making us — no, forcing us — to take notice of the revolution that appears to be happening. And playing to the home crowd never, ever hurts one's Q Score.

And we should take a moment to note the stunning play of the defense, expected to be the team's Achilles heel, for most of the game. They forced three turnovers, collected three sacks, contained Griffin and Alfred Morris, and generally were flying around like a swarm of angry insects in gaining a 33-7 lead and pitching a shutout on defense (the Redskins scored on defense) until there were six seconds remaining in the third quarter.

But let's ready a pail of cold water. You know, just in case the Eagles are not to go on and win the Super Bowl this season.

The pace with which they ran was one thing. But the way the game finished, with the Redskins outscoring the Eagles 20-0 in the fourth, raises a question: Can they Eagles keep this up, not only for four quarters each week but for 15 more games?

Michael Vick, you might not have noticed, took a beating out there. He was seen limping after the game in the locker room, and while that alone is not unusual for after a game, it is worrisome. Not counting his dog-fighting absence from the NFL, Vick has missed an average of 3.6 games in seasons in which he was his team's starter since 2003. Can he run at this pace, expose himself to this many hits and make it through a season? To be determined.

The roster depth will be severely tested by November. At Oregon, Kelly had 80-85 scholarship athletes; in Philly, he'll have 53 players on the roster, 46 of whom can play each week. This assault on the NFL also can have an internal effect of attrition.

Plus, the schedule gets tougher. In two weeks, there's emotional game when Andy Reid and Donovan McNabb (to have his jersey retired) return to town in what will be must-see NFL TV. They also have to face Peyton Manning, Eli Manning (twice), Aaron Rodgers, the suddenly relevant Cowboys twice, Griffin again (guessing he'll be healthy and less rusty by mid-November for the rematch) and a string of other competitive teams.

Plus, NFL coaches will find solutions for ways to slow this attack, which might or might not involve players feigning injuries, and find the holes in that defense. Remember, Steve Spurrier rolled up 426 yards and 31 points with the Fun'n'Gun in his Redskins debut, and we know how that turned out.

It won't be this easy week in and week out.

For now, though, we're all just witnesses to the show, and we want to see how it ends. If you stuck a gun to the head of an Eagles fan (not advised, by the way) and asked them if, based on what they saw Monday night, whether the team eventually would win a Super Bowl, many probably would say yes.

Once Kelly fine-tunes this operation, and once he gets exactly the kinds of players he wants, it could be the kind of thing that set the league on its ear. Already, NFL general managers have to be saying to their people, "Get me one of those coaches!" You can almost feel the smile of Texas A&M's Kevin Sumlin widen.

And given that Eagles fans likely are doing the same thing, it's noteworthy.

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